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Being An Owner Builder
The Contracting Process
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Finding Your Subcontractors

Some of your subcontractors can come right out of the yellow pages. Electricians and plumbers are licensed in all states. You’ll usually find several of them listed. But many good residential subcontractors are not listed in the phone book.

In the first place, they may be working out of their homes and not maintaining a business phone line.

Also, many subcontractors commute considerable distances to get to job sites. So even if they were listed, they might not be in your phone book.

So how do you go about finding subcontractors? It may seem like a trite answer, but ask around.

Start with the contacts you have - your banker, the building official, your architect, the friend who just completed a home, anyone who might be able to give you some names!

A good source is always the materials supplier. Suppose you’re looking for a stone mason for some special stone work around your fireplace. Find the people who sell the stone. They can lead you to some masons. How do you find someone who sells stone? Why not ask the guy who sells fireplaces!

Another good way to find subs is to visit construction sites. That way you can also see their work.


Subcontractors themselves are one of your best sources for other subcontractors! Think about it.

These people are on the job sites together every day. They get to know each other.

So ask every subcontractor you contact for more names.

And don’t stop with just one name in each trade. What do you do if you are ready for the ceramic tile man to come, but he is tied up on another job for three weeks?

You wait. Or you call another tile man. You can’t have too many subcontractor contacts!

You’ll want to get some basic information on each subcontractor. We have developed a couple of forms to help you organize your subcontractor contacts. The Subcontractor Directory (here) is used to list contacts within a certain classification - mason, plumber, etc.

The Subcontractor Information Sheet, here, is used to keep important information on subcontractors actually used on your job.

Get some references from each sub. Three should be enough. If a subcontractor doesn’t want to give references, you don’t want him working for you. We have provided a form you can use to accumulate references on your subcontractors. It will help you remember to ask about attitude, work ethic, punctionality, etc.


Working with subcontractors is always an experience!
Sometimes a joy. Sometimes trying. Taking your time to find the right ones will pay handsome dividends for you when you need it most - in the heat of the battle . . . construction!


For additional insight into Finding Subcontractors,
see Lesson Ten of our online course
Successful Home Contracting


Want to go back to the main Subcontractor page? Click here.

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